Wow! Long time, no see. Sorry about the big delay from Summerslam up until now. Things have been really, really busy for old Boyo – lots of work, getting rid of Sky Sports for a month, and a new job of all things – but that is really only half of the problem.
Ever since Summerslam, Raw has just been a chore to watch, and this columnist is struggling to get worked up over Unforgiven. There just doesn’t seem to be any unpredictability, but I think the return of HBK and Christian will signal an upturn in originality.
Smackdown has been a much better product than Raw in late summer/early autumn, and old Boyo is glad that his tickets to the Manchester Evening News Arena are booked for Tuesday and not Monday, but anyhoo, let’s preview the upcoming matches, shall we?
The Main Event is newly-crowned champ, Randy Orton taking on Triple H for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. I’m just not getting excited about this one. Both wrestlers are good, and can do their moves and keep things fresh in-ring, so that’s not where my complaints lie, it’s just because to me, I know Orton just ain’t losing his belt.
Randy Orton vs Triple H was always going to happen. The Master vs The Protégé, the big feud, the simmering rivalry. Evolution vs Randy’s Team at Survivor Series, Triple H winning the Rumble, and the big showdown at the Staples Center. That’s how it was meant to happen, right? Right.
So why is it happening so soon? Probably because of a lack of any credible challengers on Raw right now. HBK has his big revenge trip against Kane, Jericho hates Christian, Benoit has had his rematch, Eugene is a wishy-washy savant, Flair is an old joke and Batista – despite improving slowly – just isn’t good enough yet. That leaves Triple H or Edge. And Edge has only just beaten Orton.
So Triple H is your man. He’s back headlining for the World Heavyweight Championship at a PPV, just as he likes it. But after Orton beats him, employing the use of the RKO to pin him, the next time Triple H faces Orton will then be at Wrestlemania 21. Because he will win the Rumble. And everyone knows champions ALWAYS retain on their first title defence…
The Tag-Team titles are up for grabs as La Resistance defend against Rhyno and Tajiri, who jumped through about 25 hoops in order to get their chance. I think La Rez are probably the only genuine tag-team in the entire WWE right now; they haven’t been thrown together randomly, they wear the same clothes, they are so-so individual wrestlers who employ the use of some really impressive double-team moves, and everyone loves to hate them. They can really gain some credibility if they hold on to their belts for a bit longer. Rhyno and Tajiri are just a bit too haberdash for old Boyo to take seriously – their partnership is a little too random, the characters a little too different.
Then again, Suzuki and Dupree have just won gold on Smackdown! so a victory for either side would be no surprise.
Yes!! Christian is back and is wrestling where he belongs, in probably the most eagerly anticipated match on the card. Christian, one of Boyo’s personal favourites, is wrestling Chris Jericho in a – wait for it – Ladder Match!! Now this is a really unpredictable one, Christian plays the smarmy, cheating champion to perfection, and Jericho is a convincing nearly man who is always getting screwed. The Ladder Match is also Christian’s forte, and couple that with the facts that Jericho won their last major match (in a steel cage) and Christian always screws Jericho over should make for some interesting viewing.
HBK is back to kick the hell out of Kane after the Big Red Machine was mean to him a couple of months ago. Kane wrapped a chair around HBK’s throat and stood on the chair, choking Michaels. But the gruesome newlywed is due a major victory sometime soon (victory over an injured V1 doesn’t count) and I am going against the grain here. I think HBK’s glorious return will be poo-pooed by Kane who will do what Kane does best and repeatedly chokeslam HBK until he pins him. Expect Kane to kick out of a Sweet Chin Music, too.
Trish “Ugh!” Stratus defends her title against Victoria for the umpteenth time at a WWE PPV and I think if any match will have a title change hands it will be this one. Victoria was robbed of her title in the Fatal 4-Way in what I called “Double Cross II”, when Trish just amazingly, literally, and surprisingly got a win after Lita had pretty much kicked everyone’s head in. Oh well. The enormously strong Victoria will lift Trish Stratus above her head, will draw blood, will be harassed by Tyson Tomko, but will use the Widow’s Peak to get the win. In that order. I think.
Legend has it that Gail Kim and Victoria are being entered into a pioneering women’s feud which is about more than jealousy, Playboy, boobs, who is the bigger slut and the suchlike…yup, Kim and Vicky are apparently entering a feud where they want to find out (gasp!) who the better wrestler is, and legend has it will be groundbreaking because they put on 4* matches. If a feud is going to be that good then it might as well be for the Title.
Finally, Chris Benoit and William Regal team up to face “The Rest of Evolution”, Batista and Flair. Benoit has been plodding along since Summerslam, and William has spent most of his time on a stretcher whilst Evolution have had a hard time coping with the loss of Randy Orton. I don’t care about this match, even though I should because it features Benoit, Flair and Regal in the same ring. But I don’t. I try, I really do, but this match just doesn’t interest me because I know whoever wins or loses won’t have any ramifications in the future.
I predict this match will be the opening match, and Benoit and Regal will win somehow. And that’s it.
Once again, cheers for sticking with me, my loyal tatfans, despite the arid patch, but I will be back up to speed in the coming weeks with some Smackdown! focussed columns and a Smackdown! In Manchester Special!